7 Grandmasters

This movie had a lot of praise on IMDB and to honest I wasn’t expecting a lot out of this movie. I was, however quite impressed.

The movie has Jack Long, a superb kung fu master who wants to retire, safe in the knowledge that he is the best fighter in the country – and even has the Emperor praising his unique fighting style.

However, an unknown master throws down the gauntlet to the kung fu master to prove his worth before his retirement.

Instead of finding out who issued the challenge, Jack Long goes on a long tour of the Chinese provinces to take on all comers to ensure he is the best fighter.

There is a lot of fast-paced kung fu action and excellent fighting styles on display, but it didn’t really connect with me as a viewer.

One thing I really hated about this movie is that parts of the plot are introduced half-way into the film – for example, an integral plot of this movie is a coup de tat of Jack Long’s Chinese province – but it isn’t introduced until the final part of the movie.

We’re told, halfway through the film, that the tour of china has taken 2 years – what happened in the teacher’s home town? Weren’t the villagers angry at Long for taking so long? Why didn’t the white-haired super-villain bad guy take Long’s throne?

Aside from the plot there is a lot of kung fu action – however its ruined by lack of imagination. Every fight is in the same grassy field with similar same moves. Jack Long’s fighting skills are impressive, but he isn’t really challenged until Mr Long must take on a ‘weapons master’ – however this is the only real time that weapons are introduced into the film.

Along for the ride are Jack Long’s family / kung fu students – who are marginally impressive. There is also a comic sidekick who becomes Jack Long’s best student. But the comic sidekick’s motives are far from good. He wishes revenge on the person who killed his father.

The comic sidekick finds solace with a mysterious white-haired man who tells him to become Jack Long’s number-one student so that the mysterious master might complete his secret, deadily kung fu technique from learning what Long does.

By the end of the film, the comic sidekick takes on Jack Long in a battle. It reminded me of the whole ‘star wars’ story where the student turns to the dark side.

But alas this doesn’t happen – the sidekick discovers that the real murderer of his father was the mysterious white haired super villain.

The final fight is incredibly impressive but ends on a highly comical moment where the comic sidekick kicks the super villain in the crown jewels – topped off with stock footage of the sidekick’s kicking of a pottery vase. Ouch! That was painful!

Overall, if your into old-style kung fu movies you will enjoy this movie – however if your expecting a well made kung fu movie then you might as well look elsewhere. I know I will.

Overall: 4/10

Where are the Buffalo Gone?

“The Great chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. How can you buy or sell the sky? The warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not own the freshness of the air, or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

We know that white man does not understand our ways. One portion of the land is the same to him as the next, for he is a strange who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy and when he has conquered it he moves on. He leaves his fathers’ graves and his children’s birthright is forgotten.

There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the leaves of spring or the rustle of insect wings. But perhaps I am a savage and do not understand – the clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lovely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frog around the pond at night.

The whites too shall pass – perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. When the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the eagle? Gone. Where is the buffalo? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift and the hunt, the end of living and the beginning of survival.”

Chief Seattle to President Franklin Pierce, 1855